An open letter to the justice minister of Lithuania Mr. Ramigijus Shimashius
In answer to an article appearing in “Delfi” on December 2nd, 2009
As long there is one survivor of the horrors of the Holocaust in Lithuania and is still able to recollect the murderous hate of a great majority of the Lithuanian population towards their Jewish neighbors, your effort to diminish Lithuanian complicity in the crime of all ages is to say the least pathetic. Like a swarm of vultures former neighbors descended on their Jewish victims murdering, raping, stealing and celebrating their “great victory”.
Lithuanian expatriates with Nazi encouragement and instruction had it all planned while in exile in Germany in 1940-41, and the terror started even before the entrance of the German Wehrmacht. Approximately two weeks before the arrival of the first SS murder squads the Lithuanian the country side was made “Judenrein” by local murderers who shared in the loot of their victims. This indiscriminate slaughter of the Jewish population of Lithuania - men, women, children and new born babies diminished when the German war machine needed Jewish experts to produce needy goods and when the LAF realized that Germany had no intention of granting Lithuania independence.
It is written in the Bible that Lot pleaded with God to save the righteous of Sodom and Gomorrah because they did not deserve to die. There were righteous people in Lithuania, and they deserve to receive honors and recognition. However for every righteous there were hundreds of murderers, rapists and looters.
Your claim that Lithuania was not anti-Semitic is a misstatement. Prior to the war there was a concerted effort by the government to deprive Jewish merchants of their livelihood, there were quotas at the universities and violence on the streets. Jewish children were kept home during the Catholic holidays for fear of being beaten up. The son of a policeman walked up to a Jewish young man in Siauliai, shot him in the head for no reason and never stood trial for it.
Going home at night I had to run the gauntlet of local hooligans who were laying in ambush to beat up a Jewish boy.
You mention Vilnius as one of the major learning centers of Judaism, the Gaon of Vilna and the name Jerusalem of Lithuania. However that same Vilnius was the murder site of over 100,000 Jews. Had the Gaon have lived during that period his chances of survival would have been almost nil. The same fate would have befallen the two Lithuania Jewish Nobel Prize winners Klug and Haeljon.
This is well documented, and no attempt to obscure the truth will stand the scrutiny of history. Recall the reception President Brazauskas received when on his visit to Israel he dared to admit and apologize for the crimes committed. The real truth is not a legacy one would like to leave to one’s future generations!
December 4, 2009
Article with Ronald Lauder's statement can be read on the World Jewish Congress e-paper 4 December 2009 http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/main/showNews/id/8694
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Corresondence - readers' comments - November 2009
Dear Mr. Larwe,
As I have written to you before, I appreciate your association and your homepage because at least you, unlike many others, don´t write about this as if Marsians descended on earth and did this. And you don´t, unlike many other landsmanschaften, only concentrate on social life and burial plots and "succesful" survivors who was materially and spiritually "reborn" after
the war, as if anyone was ever reborn.
You try to tell people what happened and why, because it DID happen, even if they DENY it. You EXPLAIN it so people like myself can LEARN something. And you call a spade a spade. You call murder murder and you call murderers murderers. And you list [them]. And you can add two more to the list [names withheld by webmaster].
Dear Mr. Hinder,
Thank you for your letter and good wishes.
Regarding my writing ,there are so few of us left to tell our story, there is no language adequate to describe the tragedy we suffered and too few who want to listen, People want to forget and are aggravated when reminded of what transpired in our lifetime.
A whole industry has been mobilized to deny, confuse and falsify the horrors of our recent history. The true scope of European hatred towards the Jews will most probably never be researched. It is very "inconvenient and embarrassing". The new version of the same disease in Europe, at the UN and in the Middle East can be seen as a prelude to future disasters. May the Almighty help us all.
Western Civilization traditionally hated Jews; cultured, productive, docile and successful in spite of governmental discrimination and restrictions. See who replaced them now?
Will send you some recent articles I have written
All the best,
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Denial and obfuscation
The term Holocaust, according to Webster, means the almost complete annihilation of people. It does not refer to occupation, persecution, exile or other forms of enslavement and exploitation.
Exile, a form of punishment used by colonial powers as a tool to banish undesirable elements (criminals, political opponents), was practiced by the Tsars of Russia for hundreds of years. England sent its criminals to Australia, The French, Dutch and English had exile colonies in what is now Suriname and Guiana. Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba, Dreyfus was sent to Devils Island and Mandela to an island off the coast of South Africa. Russian expansionism eastward was accomplished by exiling millions of people to the East to settle the vastness of Siberia and to the West to the Baltic Sea. Russification of the Baltic region was standard Russian policy
This expansionist policy of the Tsars was continued by the Communist leaders after the Bolshevik revolution, using the same tactics to achieve that same goal. It resulted in the occupation of Lithuania in 1940. After the Molotov-Ribbentrop secret agreement
two weeks before the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, NKVD units broke into apartments of people to be exiled, told them to take with them documents, warm clothing and food because they will need it. It was obvious that that there was no intention to have those people murdered. If a person was not home at that time they took a neighbor or a passer bye to fill the quota. Lists of names and addresses of people to be exiled were prepared by the local Lithuanian Communist Administration; a disproportionate number of the exiled were Jews.
What we Jews did not did not know at that time was that for the entire year 1940-1941 there existed an organized Nazi supported Lithuanian underground in Germany preparing for the day when Soviet occupiers will be driven out of the country, Lithuania would regain it’s independence and they will finally be able to get rid of the Jews. They saw salvation in the start of the war.
The Nazi regime, bent on wiping the Jewish race of the face of the earth was more than happy to have the locals initiate the unfathomable barbaric explosion of murderous hate that resulted in the annihilation of almost the whole Jewish population in the countryside - outside the three major cities of Vilnius, Kaunas and Shiauliai. Plans for mass murder were made in total secrecy ahead of time in Germany by local expatriates guided and instructed by Nazi experts. Logistics were preplanned, venues for mass murder were chosen, manpower to dig the trenches was discussed, the need for alcohol to raise the motivation of the murderers was planned for and killer squads were recruited. Nothing was left to chance.
Having received total immunity from prosecution by Nazi law, Lithuanian murder squads murdered Jews with total impunity. The moment that the hostilities started, even before the hasty retreat of the Soviet army the murder of Jews started all over the land. This was the chance they were waiting for. Bands of white armed “freedom fighters” roamed the country, thirsty for Jewish blood. Like a conquering medieval army after a battle, the locals from the surrounding areas joined their city brethren intent on enriching themselves and the killing and plunder started. Motivated mostly by greed, hatred and jealousy they attacked fleeing Jews on the roads, in the small towns and villages killing indiscriminately young and old, infants, their former friends and long time neighbors.
The Jew became a cornered defenseless animal without shelter or avenue of escape. The rabid killers and their enthusiastic helpers received their rewards by moving into the homes of their murdered Jewish neighbors, “inheriting” the fruits of hundreds of years of Jewish toil.
German “einzatsgruppen” (killer battalions) entered Lithuania two weeks later and by that time most of the Lithuanian countryside was “Judenrein”.
Some individual stragglers were able to escape the indiscriminate slaughter in the countryside, sneaked into the newly organized Ghettos and told the story of their plight; but the majority of the Ghetto population found it hard to believe, unable to come to terms with the truth.
During the next few months in Shiauliai the inhabitants of the Jewish old peoples home, the orphanage, the old and the sick in the two city Ghettos were “evacuated” never to be seen again. There was a constant demand by the local Lithuanian administration to “evacuate” the remaining Jews to Zhagare where, on its main square, the Jews of the surrounding area were massacred. All of those atrocities were initiated and executed by local mass murderers, some under Nazi supervision.
These undeniable facts written in Jewish blood should be made available to the World and taught in the schools, especially in Lithuania where there is a concerted and constant effort to minimize the scope of Lithuanian involvement and participation in the atrocities. It is obvious that this mark of Cain is hard to bear. The Lithuanian Government since its inception in 1990 is sparing no effort in its attempt to build a parallel between the fate of Lithuanian Jewry and the Soviet occupation. It is ignoring the fact that the Jews suffered more from persecution by the Stalinist regime during the first occupation of Lithuania than the Lithuanians. After the War there were practically no Jews left in the country and almost no Jews to blame for their plight.
It is no secret that there were and still are many Lithuanians who collaborated with the Soviet Regime before and after the war and still hold influential government positions, yet only four Jews were accused of crimes against the Lithuanian people. There can be no symmetry between mass murder of innocent, unarmed men women and children and a struggle for national independence.
After regaining independence, the Lithuanian government created an organization whose declared purpose was to collect evidence and record the history of the war years in the country. It had a hidden agenda: to minimize the participation of the local Lithuanian population in the extermination of the Jewish community and blame the Nazis for the tragedy. It has done its utmost to conceal and cloud the true facts related to the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry and their mass participation in the massacres. It was successful in passing a resolution at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organizations for Security and Cooperation in Europe assembled in Vilnius that the extermination of the Jews and the occupation of the country by the Soviet Union are two parallel tragedies. Nothing could be further from the truth. No amount of money is spared to correlate between the massacre of the Jews and the Soviet occupation. As if the premeditated mass murder of innocent people and their struggle for independence have something in common? It’s a sham.
Extermination of an entire people, as it was done in Lithuania, is unique in the annals of human history and should be presented as such. What happened in Rwanda, the indiscriminate massacre of the Tutsis, can more validly be called a Holocaust. The vitriolic attacks on the Wiesenthal center and its director Dr. Ephraim Zuroff attest to the fact that the world does not quite accept the distorted presentation of the events as portrayed by the Lithuanian authorities.
I was 19 years old, just graduated from the Lithuanian high school in Shiauliai and am a living witness to the events of that gruesome period, unable to fathom the dept of hatred I encountered. Suffice to read the articles and comments in the Lithuanian press to realize that murderous anti-Semitism is still there and as virulent as ever.
August 18th, 2009
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Miss Violeta Devaliute in her study: “Memory lost and found” states that between June 14th to June 18th 12,000 people were deported from Lithuania to the Soviet Union as economic and political enemies of the State.
A report to the Kremlin by Gen. Gladkov states that 17,485 people were deported from Lithuania to the Soviet Union during this same period. Among the deported were approximately 7,000 Jews.
This procedure, commonly practiced by the Soviet regime had two main objectives; to neutralize the ability of the population to resist and to fill the Gulag camps with cheap labor. This turn of events had also a positive side to most of the deportees.
While millions of people perished in this horrible war, they were deemed unreliable and not conscripted for military service.
They suffered police brutality, cold and hunger but no more than the whole population of the country. They did not die on the front lines and did not starve like the people of Leningrad. Their children went to schools, received a free education and they adapted to the new reality almost as well as the local Siberian population. It was no picnic but most of them survived.
Among the deported were many professional people; industrialists, store keepers, leaders of local organizations, criminals, prostitutes and potential ‘trouble makers”.
Since the Jews were involved in industry, trade and the professions, had an extended Zionist oriented school system and were well organized, they were the main victims of the Soviet cleansing operation.
This disproportionate amount of Jews among the deportees can be explained by the fact that they were considered bourgeois, Zionists and nonconformists. The prevailing although muted anti-Semitism of the Soviet political establishment did the rest.
As it turned out the deported Jews were saved from the clutches of the marauding Nazi killers and their vicious Lithuanian mass murderers.
Had the whole Jewish population been deported to Siberia at that time, most of them would have survived the Holocaust.
What happened after the reoccupation of Lithuania by the Soviet regime in 1944 had nothing to do with the previous deportations of 1941. The Soviet regime had it’s own score to settle with the local population for events that occurred during the first days of the war and the continuing resistance to the occupation after the war.
By that time there were almost no Jews left in the country and the few that were there were searching for ways to escape the land of their greatest tragedy.
To accuse the Jews of taking part in the deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia is not only misleading; it is vicious hate mongering.
June 15th, 2009
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Lithuania and the Jews
In 1941 Lithuania, one of the smaller countries in Europe had a population of about two and a half million ethnic Lithuanians, approximately a quarter million Jews, some Russians and German minorities and the Soviet occupying forces.
Located between Germany, Poland and Russia that were vying for supremacy in the region and suffering for hundreds of years the humiliation and exploitation of their occupied homeland should have felt and understood the inhumanity and the agony of their potential victims; especially when they knew that the Jews never wished them any harm and were loyal and productive citizens. The Catholic Church preached universal love and at the same time hate for the Jews
(I felt it and witnessed it from the day I remember) was there promoting hate for the Jews way before the rise of Nazism, and fear of their neighbors nurtured a xenophobia and an innate dislike and distrust of all strangers, especially the Jews. Frustration and hate against their larger and more powerful neighbors never expressed itself in murderous action because of fear of the consequences.
They submitted without violence to the annexation of Klaipeda (Memel) to Germany in 1938, to the ultimatum presented to them by Poland demanding the restoration of diplomatic relations in 1939 and the ultimatum and occupation of their land by Soviet Union in 1940.
This overwhelming hate against their neighbors never found expression in acts of violence against them, there was an easier target: the Jews. There existed an unarmed and docile section of the population, the Jews who could easily be disposed off and whose assets could bring formidable material gains that did not have to be earned honestly. Nazi propaganda did the rest.
Hate inspired incidents by individuals and discriminating actions by the Lithuanian government grew in intensity from day to day.
It reached its peak on Sunday, June 22nd, 1941 and exploded in a bacchanalia of indiscriminate murder rape and plunder unmatched in all of Nazi occupied Europe.
They did not have to do it! No one forced them, nobody put a rifle to their heads and it lasted until the Nazi occupying forces stopped their murderous frenzy for economic reasons.
The reoccupying Soviet regime in 1944 did not consider the Jewish tragedy in Lithuania as of major importance. It was preoccupied with the war against Germany and the open account they had with their local enemies. Catching and prosecuting mass murderers of Jews present among the local population was of little importance to them. There were also enough anti-Semites in the Soviet bureaucracy, the Kremlin and even Stalin himself.
The results of the Holocaust in Lithuania are known to all, evidence of the indiscriminate slaughter of the local Jewish population dot the whole country yet today a whole industry of falsification of denial exists, promoted and supported by the Lithuanian Government.
There is no question in my mind that every Lithuanian, young and old, knows exactly what transpired during those years of infamy yet, like the proverbial monkey, nobody heard saw or remembers.
Lithuania, a small country was “blessed” with the highest percentage of volunteer
mass murderers in all of Europe and the smallest number of them that stood trial in Lithuanian courts for their ghastly deeds. The opposite is true; the ones that are still around receive Government pensions, are respected members the churches, are the founders of the neo-Nazi movement in the country and no effort has been made so far to present the truth and the undeniable facts of the annihilation of the Jewish community of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Government is spending a tremendous amount of money to whitewash, to confuse and deny the truth. The real story of the Holocaust in Lithuania is not taught in the schools, or told in the local newspapers. Since the reestablishment of independent Lithuania in 1990, not a single demand for extradition was initiated in the Interpol for the return of mass murderers to stand trial in a Lithuanian court of justice? Are they so hard to find? Most of them live in expatriate Lithuanian communities all over the World and did not even bother to change their names.
The recent attack against the article appearing in the German magazine ”Der Spiegel only confirms the fact that nothing has changed regarding the approach to the Jewish Holocaust in Lithuania, that they are ready to go to any length necessary to confuse, deny and absolve themselves of the crimes they committer against the Jewish people.
How can we the few survivors ever forgive and forget the murderous onslaught on our people, the cruelty and the barbarism, the plunder and the inhumanity?
May 26, 2009
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A bitter pill to swallow
In answer to an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel regarding the massacre at the Lietukis garage on June 27, 1941 the director of the “Genocide and Resistance Center of Lithuania”, Dr. Arvydas Anusauskas ,called it unprofessional and misleading. It is well known that history written by interested parties is almost never objective but since this massacre witnessed and supported by photographic evidence cannot be denied a way had to be found to at least shift the blame on others.
The picture showing Juozas Luksa, the man standing among the murdered and mutilated bodies of his victims, proudly leaning on the club he used for his ghastly toil speaks for itself. He is suddenly found to be of German extraction and a Nazi agent. The cheering crowd participating in the orgy of murder, hoisting up their children to make certain that they see and remember the “great event” is suddenly questionable since the German photographer did not speak Lithuanian and therefore could not know that the man standing among the murdered victims and playing the harmonica was leading the crowd in singing the Lithuanian national anthem. The picture showing the victims and the blood being hosed down by the same hose used to cram down some of the victim’s throats is passed over. What is important is that the murderer might not have been of pure Lithuanian blood. This is only one “incident” among thousands, some even more cruel and inhuman than the slaughter in the Lietukis garage.
It occurred all over Lithuania during the first few months when the Nazi occupation that presented a cart-blanche to the local population to do with the Jews as they please and they needed no encouragement. The results speak for themselves; almost the whole Jewish population was murdered during the first few months of the German occupation, mostly by the local mass murderers and no machinations, no attempt to shift the blame, no correlation exists between the Jewish Genocide in Lithuania and the Lithuanian resistance to the Soviet regime.
The Der Spiegel article quotes Dr. Pohl as stating that more than 200,000 non-Germans participated in the mass murders all over Europe. How many Lithuanians were members of death battalions and took part in murdering thousands of Jews all over the Germany and the occupied territories?
Does the learned director of the “Denial and Misinformation Center’ and member of the Lithuanian Parliament ever write of the “heroic’ deeds of Impulavicius, Ivanauskas, Levickas and all the other Lithuanian “patriots” who distinguished themselves performing their “patriotic duty”?
I saw a clip in one of the programs on T.V. when Peter Zilionka, one of the mass murderers, was questioned about what he felt when killing women and children.
His answer was that it was no problem - you raise your rifle, aim, squeeze the trigger and go to the next victim.
When will we see in print an honest and truthful account of the appalling events that transpired in Lithuania by the distinguished director of the institute of denial?
The Jewish Holocaust in Lithuania has no precedent in all of Europe especially because of the tacit approval and mass participation of the local population. For the sake of historic truth it is high time to separate the Jewish Holocaust in Lithuania from the Lithuanian resistance to the Soviet occupation. There can be no parallel between the resistance of a nation to its country's occupation and the unprecedented atrocities perpetrated against a defenseless civilian population!
It is time to tell the truth!
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After murdering almost the whole Jewish population of Lithuania without remorse or pangs of conscience, the Lithuanian government is determined to justify their crimes. The myth of saving many Jews by the local population is misleading. Approximately 7000 Jews were deported to Siberia as enemies of the Soviet State a week before the start of the war. A few thousand fled to Russia before the advancing Nazi hordes, and many of them fought in the Lithuanian division. During the Nazi retreat in 1944 approximately 10,000 inmates of the still remaining Ghettos were transported to Germany and Poland.
No more than 300 Ghetto inmates were able to escape and join the Soviet led and supplied partisan units where they were hunted not only by the special German anti-partisan units but also by an extremely hostile local population. Only about 800 Jews found shelter among the local population, mostly when it became apparent that the Nazi regime had no intention of granting them independence and when the German retreat was obvious. Even then bands of killers roamed the countryside hunting and murdering Jews.
This is the background for the intensive effort by the Lithuanian establishment to search for justification for their dastardly crimes committed by the local population not only against the Jews but against all humanity. They have finally found what they were looking for - a Jew, a communist, and a member of the Soviet security forces: Nachman Dushansky and two Jewish women: Fania Brancovskaja and Rachel Margolis who had the temerity to escape the Vilna Ghetto and fight for their lives.
The Lithuanian justice organs did not search for the thousands of Lithuanian collaborators who made up the government and especially the security apparatus during the Soviet era. The Lithuanian justice department made no effort to extradite the known mass murderers who fled Lithuania with the retreating German forces and found shelter among the Lithuanian Diaspora all over the World. Among the over 40,000 Lithuanians who fled the advancing Soviet army were thousands who took active part in the annihilation of the Jewish community in the country.
Is there or was there one Lithuanian scholar who dared to investigate this travesty of justice? Murder is murder even if the victim is a Jew! No effort was made to prosecute the mass murderers of Panerys, the ninth fort in Kaunas, the murderers in the Pivinia forest near Panevezys, those who murdered indiscriminately in the Kuziai forest near Shiauliai and in the hundreds of towns and villages all over the country. Their names are known to everyone. They won’t have any trouble finding sufficient evidence to initiate posthumous proceedings against them even if they are all boiling in the cauldrons of hell.
There is a paradox in these tragic events. There were constant demands (documented) by the Lithuanian leadership of that period to “solve” the Jewish problem once and for all, but the German administration refused claiming that Jewish labor and expertise was needed for the war effort.
All existing evidence points to the fact that Dushansky was in Crimea during the beginning of hostilities, that Kaniukai was not an innocent village but a fortified position of the German anti-partisan units and their local collaborators. They roamed the surrounding countryside hunting and killing any partisan and Jew they encountered. Had the garrison of Kaniukai won the battle not a partisan and especially not a Jew would have been spared the torture and cruel death that the locals were so adapt at.
When President Brazauskas dared to speak in the Israeli Knesset of the injustice done to the Jewish people in his country he faced, on his return, a massive condemnation by his people. The historian Liudas Truska, who dares to investigate the tragic period and find answers to the disturbing catastrophic period, is constantly being reviled and denied access to hidden files.
It seems that nothing has changed. Lithuania today, still reeking with violent, irrational anti-Semitism is still thirsty for Jewish blood. Nazi followers led by Mindaugas Murza are marching on the streets, and Jewish graves are being desecrated. All one has to do is read the hate filled anti-Semitic comments in the Lithuanian press and on the internet.
To those of you who insist on falsifying the history of the Jewish Holocaust in Lithuania I have some useful advise: you don’t have to hide behind “semi-scientific” articles to show your true colors. We have paid the price with the blood of our parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends. By your own standards the Jewish community in Lithuania was the most honest, the most peaceful, the most industrious and the most loyal minority that lived among you.
Our tragedy is your loss.
In conclusion let me state categorically:
The Jews did not kill Jesus; the Romans did because they considered him a trouble-maker.
The plague in the middle ages was not caused by Jews poisoning the wells of Europe. It was caused by rats, imported from the Far East.
Jews never use blood to bake matzot.
There is and never was a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world.
The Jews were not responsible for the last two World Wars.
All those and many others were vicious blood libels used by unscrupulous religious and political leaders to justify their failures and shift the blame on others.
February 20, 2009